Can’t seem to really quit

D&D is almost like cigarettes, only without the cancer of course. I was able to quit smoking some years back, but for some reason the whole D&D spiel still lingers.

Of course, it helps that I am now part of a gaming group that meet regularly and it pretty much in sync. One of the newer players took over DM duties and he has been able to really breathe some life into it again. Besides, the group is down two members, which appears to be perfect. Not only do we view the game in a more coherent way now, but it is also much easier to find a date for some serious gaming.

We play in the Forgotten Realms, and even though it might not be my favorite setting I like it quite a bit. The really nice thing is that I don’t know it as well as some of the other settings meaning that I feel like I am exploring something new. Furthermore I play a palading, which I never really done that much in the past. I have always had an unhealthy wizard fetisch, but I find the character class less importnat now than I have done in the past.

We have also started a G+ community, which works really well for us. G+ is somewhat nicer than Facebook and not full of weird ads and racist comments. We communicate there and share links and other cool stuff. I can see there a lot of gamers that use it and I can highly recommend it.

We have also switched from 3.5 to 5.0, which makes characer generation a lot simplier. There are definitely things I miss about 3.5, prestige classes for instance, but it seems like a fair trade off when you consider how fast you start gaming.

Losing my touch

So, I joined a gaming session before Christmas. It was a group of guys I have played with before but not the guys I started playing with. We started this group over ten yeras ago but we have been on a hiatus for quite a while. I’m guessing five years.

So anyway, we start up again in Mystara as always, playing D&D 3.5 and all of a sudden I realize I have forgotten how saving throws work. I have issues calculating my AC and for the love of me, I can’t figure out how I calculate damage. After rummaging through Player’s Handbook I manage to figure these very basic things out. It’s funnt how I have been wanting to play again and when I finally get the opportunity, the rules have slipped my mind.

As it turns out, the session was not good. The usual suspects have created drow elves, because they get a lot of bonuses to their stats. They don’t even bother coming up with a name for their characters. Afterwards, the geniuses complain about the lack of hack and slash in the game. Apparently there are too many riddles and stuff. No magical items in sight and no +4 swords either. These guys didn’t even use character sheets and dice, they had found some softaware to handle that.

This is far from what I like about Roleplaying games. As it is, we have another session coming up at the end of the month, but I am not holding my breath. I think this will be the last time I break out the dice and my gaming days will finally be over and done with. I started playing at the age of twelve, which is 29 years ago, so maybe it is time to finally put away the dice and the character sheet.

Almost game time

Link

In about four hours I will be seated at a large table with a cup of coffee and a character sheet. Yes, I am playing my first round of D&D in what must be five years.

I have played with this group before, however, there’s a new guy joining us, which is pretty cool. We tend to play the same characters every time, so I expect that I will have to make another dwarf fighter. Even if that’s the case, I think it’s a small sacrifice to get to play again.

Wish me luck.

Demons in Dragonlance

In my old campaign I intended to experiment with demons. The idea was to create a Call of Cthulu type mood, where the players would face some of the most evil entities in the world. As all my other plans, this one never came to fruition, but I did do a little bit of work on it.

The letter I have posted below, was supposed to be found by the players somehow, and reveal the existence of demons. The letter is written to an hitherto unknown arch mage, who for some reason, is interested in the denizens of the lower planes. The letter contains excerpts from a red robe, who apparently traveled to the lower planes with several other people, only to be butchered. The mage Daliath Vos is the sole survivor. This letter was supposed to be the first in a long line of correspondence between the two mages, although the inquiring mage’s identity would always remain a mystery.

 

Most esteemed Archmagus,

clip_image002 It was not without surprise that I received your request through our mutual friend in Palanthas. Normally I do not share my work with others, even though they belong to the same order as me, but considering your merits and status I feel compelled to respond.

What you are about to read is a short summation of the knowledge I have accumulated over many long years. At great personal risk have I ventured into realms that only a scarce few have been privileged to visit and the price has been high. So has the rewards, because in doing so I have amassed powers that I only dreamed of in my youth.

You will find references to two key researchers of this field: Daliath Vos and Abi-Dalzim. Both of these were great wizards in their own rights, but they have distinguished themselves by the amount of work they have put in to this venture. I would recommend that you search your own library for references to the mages, since they, to the best of my knowledge, are long gone from our part of the world. I am currently gathering information about the two, which I will forward you when ready.

I feel a warning is in its place. This subject is as dangerous as any undertaken by people of our profession. The person venturing in to this realm risks not only his existence but his very soul. Duly warned, I present to you The Demonology of Krynn.

Gil-Galad uth Vakaar

Archmagus of The Black Robes

I first started to take an interest in the lower planes when I accidentally came across a book by the great Archmagus Abi-Dalzim. From what I understand he was a powerful wizard of the Black Robes who hailed from the lands of Kuhr. I have been unable to determine when he was alive, but I have reason to believe that he at some point in time served the Great Fistandantilus as an apprentice. Abi-Dalzim claimed to have devised a spell that allowed him to scry into the Abyss without actually going there physically. I have attempted to copy his method and have met with some success. During this scrying, Abi-Dalzim saw beings, which he had never even heard of, much less seen. Since he was familiar with many of the races of the nether spheres this, needless to say, came as a surprise. Thus, he started the work that I am now continuing.

What I am able to understand from these ancient texts the Abyss is home to a race of beings that, for a lack of a better word, are Demons. It seems that these beings are native to that particular plane, and that they wield great power, power that rival that of many deities. Now, these Demons, or Tanar’ri as they call themselves, are not gods in their own rights, since they are unable to grant power to their followers. I will explore the worship of the creatures later. However, they do seem to at the very least, dominate large portions of the nether planes in a manner that resembles a lordship. So, according to your question I will now turn to the matter of the so-called Lords of the Abyss. I first encountered a reference to the Lord of the Abyss, when I read the work of Daliath Vos. He was a mage of the Red Robes, who along with his compaclip_image004nions actually ventured into the Abyss themselves for undisclosed reasons. Needless to say, this was many eons ago, but after Abi-Dalzim started his work. I have here part of Daliath Vos’ account of what transpired in the Abyss as he later wrote it in the Nethertome:

There is a place where Evil has a face and a body. There is a place where Evil lives and breathes. Within this place of torment they live, the Masters of Hate, Agony and Rage. From the deepest and darkest pits of the Nether World they rule through power so great that mere mortals can do nothing but bow down in homage.

It was to these pits we traveled in search of power and knowledge. Little did we know what fate had in store for us. Sir Gavin the Paladin was the first to fall when his God failed to aid him. What happened to the Holy Daughter Tamera I cannot say, as for the rest they must have been dragged away by the servants of the Lords.

I have come to the conclusion that I was allowed to escape so my tale could be told as a warning to other foolish mortals who want to seek out the Lords of Hate.

-Daliath Vos, Archmagus of the Red Robes

Tower of High Sorcery, Losarcum

clip_image006I believe that this tale provides us with some information concerning the denizens of the nether spheres. Firstly, it appears that there is a hierarchy, which is based on power, meaning that the least powerful creatures serve more powerful entities. I cannot for sure say how many echelons there exist but my guess is around five. There are most likely several different races in each echelon while I suspect the more powerful creatures are unique. As for their relationship with the Gods I can only speculate. Personally, I think some of the hordes do serve the deities of Krynn, although some of them appear to be independent or at least in service of hitherto unknown masters.

Lastly, I feel I should warn you again. Despite your renown and your obvious power, which we witnessed in Neraka, meddling with the affairs of the nether spheres can only bring doom to the unfortunate. However, I will share any information with you at the usual fee if necessary. You can contact me through our Red Robed broker.

G.

I guess I was wrong

RPGs aren’t quite dead yet, although I and others on the internet have proclaimed the demise of the once popular game. It turns out that the game is still quite popular.

I stumbled upon an article written by Paul Alexander Butler, who is a store manager, and who would know a heck of a lot more about the state of RPGs than little old me. Here’s a little snippet:

There are those who will tell you that traditional table top Role-Playing Games are dead. More often than not, you will hear this cry from brick-and-mortar retailers. They will point to the popularity of online games such as World of Warcraft. They will direct you to the proliferation of PDF sales and suggest that they have cannibalized hardcopy sales. They will hold up examples such as White Wolf publishing, who, for all intents and purposes, now only publishes print-on-demand. They bemoan the fact that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS has fallen from its pedestal of “best selling role playing game.”

Role-Playing Games are dead?

On behalf of myself, our Assistant Manager George, every gamer who turns out every Thursday night for Open RPG night, and the whole staff here at Games and Stuff, I respectfully say: Bullshit.

Source: Paul Alexander Butler @ Games and Stuff

The short version of this story is that I suck really badly. The second more interesting aspect is that RPGs aren’t really as dead as we might think. So why don’t we see Dragonlance, Greyhawk or Mystara material?

I suppose our good friends at Wizards of the Coast have decided it is not worth their time and energy to produce more material for these, or any other worlds, since the bottom line won’t benefit from it. I hold an MBA, so I know companies exist to make money and nothing else, however, I will also stipulate that there are ways to make money from these hitherto forgotten worlds.

Most likely I am dead wrong about this. Let’s face it, I have been dead wrong about a great many things in the past, but surely there must be some clever guy or girl at Wizards who can come up with a distribution model or something to make these worlds profitable again. Perhaps on a smaller scale than before, but still profitable none-the-less.